We enjoyed an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night due to the end of Daylight Savings time, and this helped us to summon up our last reserves of energy to enjoy the last Sunday of mission. Again the Sunday involved three services: a traditional service at 8:30am, a family service at 10am, and a young adults service at 6pm. The family service on this Sunday was going do be done differently – rather than having a kids program outside of the church service, the whole service would be an all-in family service. Jack had the significant job of running the teaching section of that service, and it was certainly going to be a challenge.
God was good to the church in bringing along quite a few visitors to the traditional service. Edwina shared in her testimony about how she had grown up thinking she was good enough to get into heaven, but later discovered that she could make it to heaven only by trusting in Jesus; and this testimony fitted in with my sermon on John 3:1-16 and Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus; despite how good a person he might have seemed to those around him, he wasn’t good enough to get into heaven by his own efforts, and neither are we. But John 3:16 gives us a powerful hope: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Next to come was the 10am all-in family service, where Jack, amidst some interaction from his puppet friend Tabbie (Kate) and the rather forgetful “Captain Memory Verse” (Edwina), told the story of the prodigal son. The service was really interactive for the kids, including hunting around the church to find the pieces of Captain Memory Verse’s memory verse, an energetic song led by Danae, and the challenge of remembering a memory verse with fewer and fewer pieces (“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found; so they celebrated!”) Both kids and adults were fully engaged for the whole service, and the story was clear and compelling. Honourable mentions to Ross as the son and Chris as the father – particularly Chris’ enthusiastic running to greet his son!
The 10am service was also followed by a jumping castle at the church – later conversations with parents found that some had come along to church at their kids insistence due to the jumping castle, and this also meant a lot of parents stayed around for a chat after church while their kids were bouncing around.
The team had some time off in the middle of the day, going our various ways for lunch before meeting back at the church for a team meeting and dinner before the 6pm young adults service. Alan and Danae gave their testimonies before Ross spoke from the prodigal son parable in Luke 15: about the forgiving father and his two sons (the rebellious son and the religious son), and the true son, Jesus.
And that was that! We wrapped up with some great conversations with people after the 6pm service, and then a final short meeting with the team and the ministers of the church, before all going our separate ways. It has been such an encouraging week for our team to partner with St Marks in Bellerive, and we will be keeping them in our prayers – and a number of our team are looking seriously into long-term ministry in Tasmania!
Please be praying for continued gospel growth in Tasmania, and for the raising up and equipping of more people to join in the ministry down here. Pray that the gospel of Jesus would be proclaimed clearly and faithfully, and that the church in Bellerive would continue in their great culture of prayerfulness.